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Chasing Delicious | Cherry Orange Graham Muffins
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Cherry Orange Graham Muffins

Placed delicately between the sugars, leavening agents and yeast on one side and the chocolates, cocoa powders, chopped nuts and oats on the other side is a twelve foot by six foot display cherishing the most basic of our baking decisions, the foundation of nearly every baked treat, flours. Every kind of flour imaginable sit so proudly staring back at passerby after passerby as these hurried men and women hastily reach for their processed, bleached, all purpose, “I can use this in anything, right?” flour. These special flours, delicate flours, hardy flours, crazy-fucking expensive flours–excuse my language but $15 for a pound?–wait and watch for their turn to be adopted. These special flours sit ignored, passed over for the easy, the simple, the well known.

Even I would pass these intriguing flavors only stopping in occasionally to grab semolina flour for my pasta or a good whole wheat flour for bread. For the most part my baking has been built on three flours: a twenty-five pound bag of all purpose, and a five pound bag of bread and cake flour–enough to get me through a week. Then one day something caught my eye as I strolled down this beautiful baking isle on my way to grab a few bags of bread and cake flour. Graham Flour. Could this be the graham flour of Graham Crackers? A quick wikipedia search on my phone confirmed my suspicions–isn’t the future awesome. I scooped up a bag since it looked both delicious and was relatively cheap compared to most of these specialty flours. I headed on my way.

I don’t think I had anything planned for this special flour but I liked the idea that I had the option to use it. Of course within three hours of getting home from the store, I decided to bake some muffins to cure my boredom. I settled on a mixture of cake flour and graham flour. I figured the graham flour, a wheat flour named for a man, with its slightly coarse feel and wheaty attributes would add a delicious touch. While hardly the star of this cherry and citrus muffin, the graham flour does add a nice touch. If you don’t have graham flour you have a couple options. You can substitute a mix of white flour, wheat bran and wheat germ–yeah that option sounds complicated–or you can substitute whole wheat flour. While the whole wheat flour route wont yield the exact same results, it will still give you that earthy, hearty texture and taste that the graham flour adds to this muffin.

This recipe was inspired from a scone recipe found over at The Amateur Gourmet–a man on which I have a huge foodie crush. I first decided to make the scones. Of course I didn’t have cranberries. I did have tons and tons of cherries so I decided to use them instead. It was delicious. I then thought, “boy, I bet these flavors will be great in a muffin,” so I merged a bit of that recipe with a bit of a foundation recipe in Bo Friberg’s book. I don’t know if I like the scones or muffins better. Both have their plusses. Theses muffins are delightful though.  Oh I almost forgot, I threw some chopped candied pecans on some of the dozen I baked. It is both delicious with and without the addition of chopped candied pecans so I will leave that decision up to you.

About Cherries: Cherries are delicious and one of my all-time favorite fruit. They are incredibly messy though, especially if you remove the pit the old fashion way. I don’t believe in buying single-function tools so I don’t have a cherry pitter. I use a paring knife. Simply cut vertically around the circumference (as if you were cutting an avocado). One side of the cherry should pop off leaving the stem and pit in the other side. Delicately jam your finger and or finger nail under the pit and pull it out. Ta da! Yes, by the end of it your hands will look like they are soaked in blood and yes it may stain them for a day or two but it is well worth it in my book. Oh beware. This stuff stains cutting boards too. You may notice a little cherry stain in both the muffin photos. I decided not to edit it out so I could sell this point to you.

About Muffins: Muffins are simple to make but when making them you need to be sure not to over mix the batter or mix the batter at too high of a speed. Mixing too long or at too high of a speed could incorporate too much air leaving your muffins dry. Mix the batter at low to medium speed and after you cream the butter, sugar and honey you may want to mix by hand to keep from over mixing. Be careful not to over bake muffins as well as that can also create a dry product and who wants a dry muffin.

This recipe will yield 1 dozen muffins.

Cherry Orange Graham Muffins

Ingredients
 6 ounces butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temp.
 5 ounces brown sugar (3/4 cup)
 4 ounces honey (1/3 cup)
 2 eggs
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 Zest from 2 oranges
 Zest from 1 lemon
 1/2 teaspoon salt 
 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
 8 ounces cake flour (2 cups)
 3 ounces graham flour (1/2 cup)
 1/2 cup buttermilk
 1/4 cup half and half
 2 cups chopped or halved cherries
 1 cup chopped candied pecans

Instructions
 1. Preheat an oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.
 2. Cream the butter, sugar and honey together until light and
    fluffy, about 5 minutes.  
 3. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla and zest
    makingsure to mix well after each addition.
 4. Sift together the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder & soda
    andflours in a bowl. Mix the buttermilk and half and half in
    another bowl.
 5. Pour half of the dry mixture into the fluffy egg and sugar
    mixture. Mix until incorporated but take care not to over mix.
 6. Mix in all of the buttermilk and half and half. Mix until
    incorporated.
 7. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
 8. Gently fold in the cherries taking care not to mix them in to much
    as they will dye the batter red.
 9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped
    candied pecans on top if you so desire.
 10. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a
    toothpick inserted into the center comes out just clean. A few
    crumbs here is fine.
 11. Remove the muffins from the pan as soon as they are cool enough
     to handle.

Enjoy!

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Born and raised in Texas, Russell van Kraayenburg may sit you down for a stern lecture if you confuse barbecue with grilling. Creator of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, his work has been featured in Southern Living magazine and on such sites as Lifehacker, Fast Co. Design, Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, The Daily What, Quipsologies, Neatorama,Explore, and Fine Cooking.

41 Comments

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  • Baking Serendipity

    These muffins look fantastic! I love your old-school method of cherry pitting. I do the same! I can’t bring myself to spend the money on a cherry pitter…as much as I hate the time and effort it takes to pit cherries!

    • Russell

      Haha. Yeah I can preach just using a knife before I have to do the pitting but after pitting a pound of cherries a tool that would make it easier does sound nice. Maybe one day when I have to pit 10 pounds in a day, I’ll consider it. Thanks for the kind words!

  • Hester Casey @ Alchemy in the Kitchen

    Graham flour? What an interesting ingredient. I prefer pitting cherries the old-fashioned way too. I had a cherry pitter – the theory was great but the practice was rubbish.

    Lovely, lovely muffins.

    • Russell

      Yeah, graham flour may be my new favorite. It is worth checking out if you can find it cheap like I did. It is nice to know though having that cherry pitter doesn’t make anything easier. I will happily stick to my knife and fingers for now on.

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind words!

  • Tina@flourtrader

    Great story on how you arrived at the graham flour ingredient. Fruit stains-whenever I see the juice, I just pray that it did not stain. I do not buy fresh pomegranites anymore-those are the worst.
    Your muffins look lovely and I will be on the lookout for that graham flour, thanks for sharing.

    • Russell

      I know what you mean. I usually have a damp cloth standing by to wipe up any rogue red droplets. Sometimes I am not fast enough though. Thanks for the kind words and stopping by!

  • Steph@stephsbitebybite

    I’m craving cherries now! These looks so good!

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious

    Oh these look so good- your cherries look so yummy!

  • Vicki @ WITK

    Your photos look so beautiful and make these muffins look amazing. Great recipe and post!

  • Ken⏐⏐hungry rabbit

    You are definitely chasing delicious by going outside of the box. Hats off to your curious instinct which results in a very delicious end product. Now I’m itching to purchase some graham flour to make a ‘whatever something’.

    • Russell

      I am definitely going to start exploring some other recipes and see what I can use this flour in. It has such a delicious taste and texture. Thanks for stopping by : )

  • Happy When Not Hungry

    These muffins look beautiful! Great recipe!

  • Anne@frommysweetheart

    Russell….I’ve never used graham flour before…but now I’m intrigued. Cherry and orange sounds like such a wonderful combination! These muffins sure are beauties! : )

    • Russell

      Thank you very much. You should pick some up, it’s a delicious, wheaty flour. I am going to try making some homemade graham crackers and maybe some other cookies with them soon. I love whole wheat flours though for their taste and texture.

  • Kate@FudgyGoodness

    Hi Russell, new to your site. These muffins look terrific – cherries are also one of my favourites! Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Dee at Deelicous Sweets

    I feel sad for those flours just sitting there waiting to be bought and made into something delicious ;) Great post and as always, your muffins look beautiful!

  • Stephanie

    Those look delicious (beautiful photos) ! I love cherries in baking.

    I have a huge flour collection because I bake a lot (a LOT) of bread. Places that have displays of expensive specialty flour are dangerous for me and my bank account. I’ve never tried using graham flour before so I’m going to keep an eye out for it now that I have this recipe as an excuse to add it to my collection

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! And I am jealous of your flour collection. Do you have a favorite flour? I am getting more and more interested in exploring the big world of flours. Though you are right about dangerous. Some of them are quite expensive!

      • Stephanie

        I am a fan of whole rye flour because I can feed it to my white flour sourdough starter and it makes it much more active. I found some organic stuff that is grown near by so I didn’t mind paying a bit more. I wish we could get all the good flour brands here in Canada that everyone in the USA gets. *jealous*

  • Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    These look wonderful, and the flavour combos sound truly divine! I heard once a good way of pitting cherries was to put the cherry on the top of an empty glass pottle with a narrow neck, then stab through the top with a skewer or straw or something to pop the stone into the bottle. Dont know if it works but might save the lovely finger staining! :) But anyway, gorgeous recipe and am entirely envious right now, muffin making time i think!

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! And what an interesting idea. I may just have to tory that next time. It sounds just crazy enough to work. Thanks again for stopping by and the kind words. Enjoy your muffins!

  • Snippets of Thyme

    Saw these on FG and had to come over. The photo is gorgeous. Is graham flour from graham crackers or is it a type of flour? I’ll have to look that up because the flavor of these muffins sounds so delicious.

    • Russell

      Graham flour is a particular kind of flour. You should be able to find it near the specialty flours in your grocery store. It is a lot like whole wheat flour in that it has the bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat kernel but Graham flour is a coarser grind. It is the flour they use to make Graham Crackers though I don’t think using ground up graham crackers in this application would work. Of course I haven’t tried that, so who knows?

      Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by!

  • Snippets of Thyme

    O.K., I went back and read some more and saw the section on graham flour! So now I know and will be on the lookout…

  • Eliot

    Pics are fabulous and I love this recipe. What great flavor combos.

  • Peggy

    Oh that looks like the perfect muffin! I really need to check out that graham flour though, because I’m sure the possibilities are nearly endless =)

  • Rita D K Simmons

    Well I know what I am having for breakfast tomorrow, that looks and sound delicious, great recipe.Thanks

  • Jamieanne

    These sound like delicious muffins and they look beautiful too! This is the first time I’ve been to your blog (found you on FoodGawker) and I just couldn’t stop reading – I loved your intro about the expensive flours. Great writing and beautiful photos! Now I’m going to have to see if I can find graham flour as I’ve never even heard of it before….. :)

  • Nava Krishnan

    This is so lovely, not only a great recipe but beautiful shots.

  • yudith

    I ran into the same issue w/ finding graham flour while trying to bake a cupcake last year :) Gorgeous pic, and never thought of cherry orange and graham combo flavors–so thanks for sharing.

  • aria @cookingmesoftly

    Dear Russel…… these muffins seem gorgeous and delicious……. I would lap the screen……..
    Have a nice day.

    Ciao from Italy.

    Aria

  • KC Quaretti

    Wonderful blog, great photos and I really enjoyed my visit! Graham muffins; how orginal! I’ll be back often!
    KC
    http://www.KCintheKitchen.com

  • Yelena

    Looks beautiful!

  • Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    Russel – may I suggest this particular cherry pitter? It won’t break the bank and doesn’t make a mess. :) http://www.dishingthedivine.com/2011/05/27/cherry-pitter/ Your muffins look fabulously amazing and I can’t wait to try them! :)

  • Magic of Spice

    Beautiful muffins! I love experimenting with different flours and meals, although I do not bake much I find other treasures to create with them :)

  • Russell

    test

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  • marla

    These muffins look great! Will be linking back to this in my post tommorow :)

  • Miguel Gossom

    Cake is a form of bread or bread-like food. In its modern forms, it is typically a sweet baked dessert. In its oldest forms, cakes were normally fried breads or cheesecakes, and normally had a disk shape. Determining whether a given food should be classified as bread, cake, or pastry can be difficult.-

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